Interview with Vivian Fang Liu
Vivian Fang Liu was born to be a musician,” says Felix W. Ortiz, member of Assembly. Ms. Liu holds her Master’s degree in classical piano performance at New York University.She has won many prizes at piano and voice competitions in New York since 2002. Ms. Liu performed actively in tri-state region, venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Hammerstein Hall, Steinway Hall, Super Star Theatre, Hilton Grand Theatre and more recently was invited to perform at the Gracie Mansion of Mayor Bloomberg for the NYCHA celebration. And in the summer of 2011, Ms. Liu was invited to sing American national anthem at Citi Field baseball stadium. Ms. Liu was a judge of 2010 Global Chinese Youth Musical Instrument Competition and she is a piano adjudicator in New York State School of Music Association (NYSSMA)
Vivian, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little about where you grew up?
Hi, Tom, Nice to meet you!:) I was born in Gui Yang, the capital of Guizhou province of Southwest China. It’s not a big city, but there are a lot of beautiful natural sceneries and countless mountains.
When you were young did you come from a family of musicians?
My parents like music, and my father can play a little bit of er hu (a Chinese traditional instrument). They like to sing for fun but they are not professionals.
How did you first get involved in learning piano?
I was a tomboy, a very active child. My mom wanted to calm me down, LOL and she told me I would never be alone if I know how to play music ☺
You came to the US alone when you were 16. What did you think when you first arrived?
I went to Disneyland my childhood dream.
You have performed in many places including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and at Gracie Mansion for Mayor Bloomberg. Your Carnegie Hall performance was sold out. What was the feeling before and after your performance?
I practiced for the recital for a long time, I was not that nervous about my playing but I was nervous. What if no one came? I was so grateful when I stood on the stage and saw how many people came to see me. I felt like I was the luckiest person in the whole world!
You were also a judge for the 2010 Global Chinese Youth Musical Instrument competition. What criteria did you judge contestants on and can you tell us who won?
The competition is sponsored by China’s state council, the contestants are composed of Chinese students from all over the world. The contestants are being judged on their techniques, style, musical abilities, and stage presence. The final winner was a very talented young man of 18 years named Dong Huang Li.
You also compose and write your own lyrics?
Yes, there are a lot of interesting stories in my head and I want to tell the stories in a musical way.
Your newest youtube video is ke xi bu shi ni by Fish Leong. Why this choice of song?
I was touched when I first heard the song in a singing show. I liked it very much so I did it.
You have written, “Music is an outburst of a soul”. What, or who, inspires you?
An English Composer Fredrick Delius said it and that’s what I have always felt and what I always do.
You are teaching now. How do you enjoy it and do you have any promising students?
I love teaching. My students are from 4 years old to adults. I like to work with students and help them to improve and I feel very excited when I see students achieving their goals. Many of my students are doing pretty well in different piano level exams and some of them received college offers. I am teaching a 5th year student who just finished her first classical composition and is going to a competition soon.
Tell us about your band “Poison Mushrooms”. Who are the other members?
Poison Mushrooms is a pop rock band, I am the bandleader and lead vocal. There is Mecca T.D. on bass, Andy Zhou on drums, and Vincent Ye on guitar. We play my original songs. I write the songs and the band arranges them together. We laugh and we fight when there are different opinions. We are like a family☺
How would you best describe the style of music you play?
I am a classical trained pianist. I play a lot of classical music but I also have my own pop rock band and Jazz band. I like all kinds of music and I try to explore as many different types as I can.
If I were to listen in on your I-Pod on a typical day what might I hear you listening to?
I actually listen to all types of music, classical, jazz, rock, rap, R&B, hiphop, just to name a few. And what I choose to listen on a particular day or time all depends on my mood and the weather of that day.
If you could choose one of your original songs. The one that is your favorite or has the most meaning to you, which would it be and why?
All the songs are important to me, as they express my life and transitions throughout all the years and also inspirations that I have encountered. Every one of them is special to me.
What would you like to be doing in the future in regard to your career?
I would like to open my own music school in order to help people explore their musical potential and follow their dreams as a musician.
Do you have an interesting projects coming up you can share with us?
Yes! Im invited to work as the Music director in New York Miss Chinese Pageant this year and I was also invited to perform as the headliner of the 10th Mountain Division welcome home event for the soldiers and people who are coming back from Afghanistan.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I like to watch movies and try different types of food. Hotpot is my favorite, I have been to all the hotpot places in New York. I also like to travel and hope one day I can travel all over the world.
Where can we go to find out more about you?
Go to my website www.vivianfangliu.net